It’s a relatively unorthodox use of medical marijuana, but according to UBC Okanagan researchers, pot could be used to combat substance abuse.
“Research suggests that people may be using cannabis as an exit drug to reduce the use of substances that are potentially more harmful, such as opioid pain medication,” the study’s lead investigator, associate psychology professor Zach Walsh said.
Walsh and his team, in conjunction with researchers from Florida State University, also found marijuana has the potential to help treat depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Researchers conducted in-depth reviews of numerous studies on marijuana and mental health to come to their findings.
UBC Okanagan touts this as one of the ‘most comprehensive reports to date’ on the effects of medical marijuana on mental health.
With Canada coming closer to legalizing marijuana, Walsh believes his team’s research can help push boundaries and better understand the benefits of cannabis.
“There is not currently a lot of clear guidance on how mental health professionals can best work with people who are using cannabis for medical purposes,” Walsh said. “With the end of prohibition, telling people to simply stop using may no longer be as feasible an option. Knowing how to consider cannabis in the treatment equation will become a necessity.”
The study was recently published int he Clinical Psychology Review. You can view the entire report here.